Former United States president Jimmy Carter said Sunday that Israel has 150 nuclear weapons in its arsenal, The Times reported yesterday.

Carter made the allegations about Israel's nuclear arms while arguing that the U.S. should engage in direct negotiations with Iran to persuade it to halt its nuclear program, The Times stated.

"My advice to the U.S. would be to start talking to Iran now," Carter said. He made the comments at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival in Wales.

The former U.S. president also condemned Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip as "one of the greatest human rights crimes now existing on Earth," Agence France-Presse reported.

"There is no reason to treat these people this way," he said regarding Gaza's Palestinian residents.

The 83-year-old was criticized on a recent visit to Israel for meeting with officials from Hamas as well as for visiting Syria, where he met with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal.

He has previously called Israel's blockade of Gaza a "crime and an atrocity." The blockade was imposed in response to ongoing rocket attacks targeting Israel from Gaza.